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Elon Musk Accuses Facebook For ‘Manipulating The Public’

X owner Elon Musk on Wednesday accused Facebook of “manipulating the public” in the latest escalation in the ongoing war of words with his possible “cage match” foe Mark Zuckerberg.

Musk shredded Zuckerberg in response to an exposé by Sky News Australia, which alleged in a sweeping report that Meta-owned Facebook has been bankrolling a fact-checking operation that has purportedly censored political content ahead of a key Australian referendum.

“Facebook is manipulating the public almost everywhere on Earth,” Musk wrote on his rebranded site formerly known as Twitter. “That is why they won’t open-source their algorithm.”

The report claimed the Meta-funded Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology has repeatedly placed fact checks on posts that expressed opinions or views opposed to the creation of a proposed “Voice to Parliament” that would advocate on behalf of indigenous communities in Australia.

“An audit of RMIT Voice fact checks showed the 17 Voice checks between May 3 and June 23 this year were all targeting anti-Voice opinions or views,” the report said.

The investigation found that Russell Skelton, the head of RMIT’s “Fact Lab,” is “unashamedly partisan on social media” and has been openly critical of conservative viewpoints, despite the group’s purportedly nonpartisan role as an “independent fact-checker.”

Meanwhile, Renee Davidson, an RMIT staffer, was allowed to author several fact-checks related to the “Voice to Parliament” debate that “throttled Sky News Australia’s page,” even though she once retweeted a post referring to a critic of the proposal as a “fear-mongering racist.”

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“She used the powers granted to RMIT Fact Lab to censor an opinion about a political debate she disagreed with,” the outlet alleged.

Sky News is owned by News Corp., the parent company of The Post.

Meta representatives did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on Musk’s remarks.

It’s not the first time Facebook’s “independent” fact-checkers have censored dissented views. The social media site blocked The Post after it ran an op-ed in February 2020 saying COVID may have originated from a Chinese lab leak as opposed to the widely touted theory that the virus sprang from a wet market in Wuhan.

Then a month before the presidential election, Facebook censored The Post’s exclusive report on Hunter Biden’s laptop. Last year, Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook was wrong to ban the sharing of the story — and said the suppression occurred after a vague FBI warning about potential “Russian propaganda.”

Twitter, which was run by Jack Dorsey at the time, also prevented users from posting links to the story.

Musk, who bought the site for $44 billion last year, has escalated the rivalry with Zuckerberg in recent weeks as Meta rolled out Threads, a text-based app that is directly competing with X.

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Aside from trading jabs about their respective businesses, the two billionaires talked openly about facing off in a “cage match,” though Zuckerberg, 39, said earlier this month it was “time to move on” because Musk, 52, “isn’t serious” about the fight.

Meta executives have billed Threads as a “sanely run” alternative to X, which has rankled advertisers by loosening its content moderation practices.

Ahead of Threads’ launch in July, Musk raised concerns about its privacy policies by sharing a screenshot detailing a list of data that the app would purportedly collect from users, ranging from purchases to search history.

In May, Musk suggested that Meta-owned WhatsApp “cannot be trusted” to protect users while touting Twitter’s plan to support encrypted messaging in the future.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk accused Facebook of manipulating online discussion.
Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg recently said Elon Musk “isn’t serious” about their planned cage match.
Musk “opened-sourced” X’s algorithm by releasing the underlying code for public viewing last April, fulfilling a pledge he made after acquiring the company.

At the same time, Musk has faced scrutiny over various moves that critics say are meant to stifle transparency, such as his company’s decision to revoke free access to its API, or application programming interface.

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk have repeatedly exchanged barbs in recent months.
This week, Musk announced that news articles would no longer display their headlines or text when posted on the site.
Musk weighed in on Meta’s alleged role in backing censorship even after X was accused of throttling news outlets by implementing a five-second delay when users tried to click on their articles. X later removed the delay.

Source: Nypost

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